Commodore Cruises Closes

Commodore Holdings suspended all cruise operations as of Dec. 30 and 31, 2000 for Commodore Cruise Line, Crown Cruise Line and Capri Cruises and has filed for Chapter XI bankruptcy protection.

Commodore CEO Fred Mayer said the company has 120 days to submit a reorganization plan and that it then would be “up to the courts.” He said he hoped to reorganize and would start again from scratch.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that Commodore still has a 10-year charter agreement with the University of Pennsylvania for the Universe Explorer, which is being operated by World Explorer Cruises during the summer. A spokesperson for World Explorer said that company bad bought the ship.

Mayer also said that all passengers and crew had been properly repatriated, but Jim Given, cruise ship director for the International Transportation Federation (ITF), said that crewmembers on the Enchanted Capri were in the process of being repatriated, that the Enchanted Isle bad been arrested on behalf of the crew; that the ITF was in the process of considering whether to arrest the Enchanted Sun, which still is said to have 250 crew onboard; and that ITF was evaluating what to do vis-a­ vis the Crown Dynasty, which at press time also had crew onboard.

According to bankruptcy papers filed with the courts, Commodore listed total debt of approximately $141 million and total assets of approximately $163 million. Cruise Industry News (CIN) was unable to reach Commodore executives to confirm the estimates.

The list of creditors is long and includes port authorities, shipping agents, shipyards, and suppliers.

The papers obtained by CIN made no mention of passenger deposits.

In a prepared statement, Mayer said the company’s problems started with its day-cruises from San Diego this past spring. The venture was plagued by logistical difficulties and the passage of state law allowing land-based gaming, which had a negative impact on cruise sales, according to Mayer.

He also said to CIN that the economy and price dumping by the other cruise lines were to blame for Commodore’s woes.

At press time it was uncertain what will happen to Crown’s sought-after Bermuda slot.

At Apple Vacations, Douglas Brown, director of cruises, said that discussions were going on regarding Apple’s relationship with Crown. Meanwhile, passengers booked on the Crown Dynasty are being transferred to other ships and/or tour programs.

The tourism department in Bermuda did not return phone calls.

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